Sometimes the most interesting of ideas don’t need a lot of time to be created, as hackathons constantly prove. And this was evident in Selangor’s latest initiative that got young and bright minds to come together and build solutions to today’s problems.
Selangor Information Technology & Ecommerce Council (SITEC) and Devs Asia held a 25-hour Smart City & Future Commerce Hackathon that gathered a total of 150 participants split into 46 teams.
Each team had to develop technology applications based on two themes: smart cities and future commerce. They could choose to take up a variety of challenges to solve, whether it be reducing congestion and parking issues to finding an effective way for waste management.
And I have to say, some of these ideas left me in awe. Here’re the 4 ideas that we found really cool—but don’t take just our words for it, the judges agreed too.
SmartSOS is a platform that connects city consumers to agricultural products from rural and urban poor farmers. It’s a great way of giving these farmers a wider reach to a bigger pool of consumers rather than just relying on traditional means.
And it started from some personal experience. One of the team members has a parent who’s a rural fishermen so he understands the frustration of putting in a lot of effort yet not getting the right rewards.
Most of the team are also exposed to severe issues like poverty and inequality, being youth activists themselves.
“We saw how the rural community has yet to expand their business online and at a reasonable price. So this gave us an idea to create the platform to help leverage their products and to increase their income.”
– Henry from SmartSOS
The team was overjoyed to be crowned the overall champion, walking home with RM 5,000 in cash and a three-day MVP Development Bootcamp. Their social initiative also earned them an additional RM 1,500 for having the ‘Most Impactful Hack’.
They’re now looking to work closely with the Selangor State Government to realise their idea. They’ve already started engaging with a few vegetarian meal stalls as their first batch of users but they’re hoping to get more assistance to connect directly with local farmers.
Here’s an idea I’m personally excited for.
Everyone’s probably experienced that annoying moment of going through a Smart Tag lane to pay for your toll when the car in front of you suddenly brakes because their card couldn’t be detected. Cue a long line of honking cars and impatient drivers.
That’s one of the issues MyPlate is looking to solve. It is a service that settles payments for tolls and parking via identifying license plates using computer vision and deep machine learning. Your debit or credit card will be automatically billed when you pass a gantry.
This creative idea landed them as runner-up and bagged them RM3,000 along with a three-day MVP Development Bootcamp.
The team hopes to collaborate with the Selangor government, town councils and road authorities to try implementing this onto future gantry gates as well as parking areas.
3) Numbawan Bus
We’re all familiar with bus stops being in designated locations but you’ll have those who will try to flag a bus down at random spots which can be a hassle.
That, added with the rise of on-demand services and a need for smoother ride experiences, this team came up with an application they thought would be useful.
Numbawan Bus is a bus-routing app that makes the bus service efficient for drivers and commuters who live in a shared area by letting passengers request a customised bus stop in a convenient location. Think of it like an… “Uber for buses”.
The team was rewarded handsomely with RM 2,000 with a three-day MVP Development Bootcamp as other winners.
However, one of the judges, Vishanthini A/P Kanasan, did bring up an issue they’d face. There will be legal challenges as buses normally have strict designated routes enforced by Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (SPAD) which navigating away from could be troublesome.
So Numbawan Bus is hoping to discuss further with the government and town councils on what would be the best method to implement this without it breaking any regulations. The team said they’re eyeing certain hotspots in Klang Valley, such as Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya, to try and launch this at first.
Aside from the top 3, there was also another winner thatmassively impressed the panel of judges as well as the audience,which pretty much helped them bag RM 1,500 for the ‘Most Impressive Demo’.
FacePay is a payment service that thinks so far ahead It allows users to pay for purchases through facial and voice recognition technology without the need for a mobile phone. It also provides for seamless transactions using cryptocurrencies whilst minimising the associated risks.
This technology has already been launched in other countries such as with AliPay in China and even for Apple’s FaceID, but it’s exciting to think this could be brought in Malaysia by our local talent.
But it wasn’t just these 4 ideas that were impressive.
This hackathon was brimming with brilliant ideas like flash flood management apps as well as sensors for rubbish bins using Internet of Things (IoT) technology.
Despite these teams not winning anything, their ideas are still good enough that the government should consider pursuing some of them regardless.
With that said, Selangor itself has been quite proactive in engaging young people for these initiatives, with this hackathon and their Smart City and Future Commerce convention being recent examples.
Previously, SITEC conducted StartupQuest Selangor, a smart-city ‘hackathon’ for noobs and the experienced alike, over the past two years. So there are actually multiple efforts to continue supporting the bright young minds we have here.
Here’s to hoping more cool ideas like these can be brought out into the real world, to solve the real issues our society is facing.
If you want a better view on what happened during this hackathon, you can check out this video below:
Do you have an idea for a smart solution? Tell us in the comments section and stand a chance to win tickets for next year’s Smart City & Future Commerce Convention!
This article was written in collaboration with SITEC.
Feature Image Credit: SITEC